Title

Increasing profits on cattle ranches in Utah

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Utah Science

Volume

50

Issue

2

Publication Date

1989

First Page

89

Last Page

92

Abstract

Utah cattle ranchers continue to be caught in a cost-price squeeze; costs increased by approximately 72% between 1977-88 while average livestock prices increased by only 48%. Even with increased calf production and cull cow sales since 1977, average net returns to cash costs have remained negative and show a nominal decline. Reducing production costs offers the greatest opportunity for improving profits. Of the average expenditure of $241 per cow in 1988, 74% was related to feed. Ranchers have several options to reduce their dependence on relatively expensive sources of feed and forage. An analysis of various management strategies showed that the most profitable strategies based cow herd size on the year-long availability of range forage. To minimize losses associated with feeding hay or other harvested feeds for extended periods, breeding herds should contain fewer cows than is characteristic of most cattle ranches in the state.